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The directory Plots of stamps in the catalogue

Recamier Juliette
(17771849)

Recamier Juliette (17771849)

Juliette Récamier was one of the foremost society beauties of the day. Daughter of a banker from Lyon, in 1793 at the age of 16 she had married a 43-year-old banker, a business acquaintance of her father's. Unfortunately, her sitting for the portrait proved problematic the model was whimsical, spoilt and constantly late; the artist was irritated with her and with the lightning of the room, where she sat for him. Although the portrait reached an advanced stage, it was never finished. David's picture of her as a distant yet fragile and vulnerable young woman did not match Mme Récamiers image of herself as a confident and sophisticated society figure, and so she was to turn instead to David's pupil Gérard to satisfy her wishes. David finally informed her: Madame, ladies have their caprices; so do painters. Allow me satisfy mine; I shall keep your portrait in its present state. Though attempts were made to bring about a reconciliation, it never occurred.

She became one of the foremost society beauties of the day. Her salon attracted all gallant men of the capital, although no one could boast to be her lover. Among her admirers were Jean Baptiste Jules Bernadotte and Lucien Bonaparte, whom she was able to keep remote without discouraging. Napoleon, though, was so much irritated with her rejection to become lady-in-waiting at his court and his intimate friend that he remained hostile towards her all his life. Thus, when in 1806, the bank of M. Récamier got into a difficult situation and Napoleon could have saved it from bankruptcy, he refused, and moreover, in 1811 found a pretext to send Juliette out of Paris. When Napoleon was informed that three of his ministers visited Mme Récamier's, he said sarcastically that he did not suspect that the council of ministers now meets in the house of Mme Récamier.


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France, 1950.12.09, Lyon. Recamier

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